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The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal - An All-Inclusive Resort
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Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed 5 nights at the Westin in November. Overall it was pretty nice. We paid to upgrade to the Royal Beach Club, which I would not suggest. There was only a curtain between the bedroom and the bathroom which did not provide very much privacy. The regular pool was not very full and there were plently of chairs available. The drinks at the Royal Beach Club pool were much better, but other than that we did not really feel it was worth the extra money. The upgrade may be more valuable during the peak season when the regular pool is busier. We have never stayed at an all inclusive before, but we were not impressed with the food. We also had a pari of sunglasses and a camera stolen from the pool area, but it was our own fault as we turned our back on our personal items.
The best part of our stay was the tours we booked through Eric Garcia on the beach. We did the turtle nesting tour which was absolutely amazing (well worth the 2 hour bumpy drive). We also did the Palo Verde River tour and loved it! We also really enjoyed the spa. It is beautiful and the staff was wonderful.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TKB7764
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed for a week in a Royal Beach Room. It's about a 45 minute drive from the airport and we used the EcoTrans shared shuttle service to get to the hotel ($25 per person). The check-in process is very efficient and I loved how seamlessly we were transferred from our arrival transportation to a Westin shuttle (these things are awesome) to the Royal Beach lounge for check-in.

Welcome drinks were offered and within 5 minutes we had our gold bracelets, key cards and we're being shown to our room by the dedicated tower 1 concierge. John was fantastic over our weekly stay in making sure we were looked after, reminding us to make dinner reservations at the 5 resort restaurants and dispensing great advice.

The room was of a good standard. Clean with plenty of towels. Not particularly spacious but it did have the Westin showerhead and a large tub. The mattress was not the Wonderful bed we were used to at other Westins.

The Royal Beach part of the resort is amazing. The adults-only atmosphere keeping things serene, the lagoon-style pool and the excellent pool bar stocked with premium drinks and cheerful bar staff. The italian restaurant is located nearby which serves Royal Beach users their breakfast and lunch (although you can go elsewhere).

For an all-inclusive I was surprise how good all the food was. Some dishes were better than others but each restaurant had something excellent during our stay. I heartily recommend the steak(or steak tartar) from Cauri, the Costa Rican Chiffrito at the Latin place and the Tuna tartare starter for lunch at the Italian. You can also get your Royal Beach premium drinks at the other bars by request (and showing your gold band). I'm a particular fan of Tanqueray so this pleased me!

The entire resort was spectacular. Access to the beach, and the main pool were good. Sometimes service could be a little hit and miss in the restaurants but we were away from Manhattan so appeciated the slower pace for a week!

If you want to take an excursion. You can either use Swiss Travel which are located at the hotel, but thanks to recommendations from Tripadvisor we chose to use Eric and his team at the beach. Eric created the perfect day out for my wife and I and another couple we met. A fantastic day out for $100 each.

My only complaint about this resort is the nightly restaurant reservations system. On two seperate occasions we had made a reservation but were not listed in the maitre'Ds book when we arrived at the restaurant causing frustration and embarassment for all involved. The staff were accomodating after I insisted they seat us, but there must be a better way to make this system work.

We're hoping to head back again next Christmas and try and pull ourselves away from this spectacular resort to go on a few more excursions. It's tougher than we thought!!

Room Tip: If you're travelling as a couple - splash out and book Royal Beach!
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TauntonInternational
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

This is the best resort we have ever stayed at. The grounds are beautiful, lush and expansive and even when the resort is full it never seems crowded. The beach is lovely whitish sand and stretches out for a great distance. If you want privacy just walk a few minutes away from the resort entrance to the beach. The water is clean and just enough wave action to be fun. Our whole family works out and the Westin Gym is terrific with 3 ellipticals, one stationary bike and four or five treadmills along with extensive free weights and weight machines. There are daily classes that include spinning, beach yoga, abs and full body workout. The gym staff were terrific.
The food is excellent in the a la carte restaurants. Our favourite is the Italian Faisanella but the the French Cauri and Mediterra were also comparable to a very good restaurant back home. Only the bamboo (asian fusion) was disappointing. Because we stayed in the Royal Club we had breakfast every morning at the Faisanella, a great buffet with a delicious omelette station. For lunch, we recommend you try the wood-oven pizza at Spirula at least once (and finish it off with their tiramisu ice cream). Staff throughout the resort are friendly, helpful and accommodating.
We booked two trips through Erik Garcia's staff on the beach right outside the hotel entrance. My wife and son went to Vaundara (ziplining, horseriding, waterslide, mudbaths and hot springs) and had a wonderful time with Carlos. There were only 6 persons in the minivan group and this was much preferable to the large busload taking the hotel megacombo trip (and cheaper as well). My son and I went with Mitch on the boat ride on the Tempisque river in Palo Verde Park. Mitch was a terrific guide and we saw lots of crocodiles, whiteface monkeys and beautiful birds. Again, it was cheaper than the hotel ($60 versus $75), very reliable and exactly the same boats and routes. My wife had two blissful hour long massages by Norma on the beach ($30) and was in an altered state afterwards.
If you are in the Royal section there is a separate quieter adult pool with whirlpool and enjoy coffee hour in the Royal Lounge every day at 4. Costa Rican Coffee is exceptional. This is a wonderful resort.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank spbsfp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2012 via mobile

We stayed at the Westin Playa Conchal for six days over the Christmas holiday. Since we planned so many off-resort activities during the day we opted not to upgrade to the Royal Beach Club. Our room was a junior suite about a five minute walk from the pool, beach, and main restaurant area in bungalow 7. The resort is sprawling but immaculately kept and everything is in reasonable walking distance. There are also shuttles that run continuously throughout the day and evening.

Room: The room was spacious and very clean with neutral decor. The primary negatives were the lack of dressers/adequate shelving and the bathroom set up. For a couple who packs pretty lightly, it was still tough to fit all of our clothes on the three small shelves in the closet. Other reviewers have commented on the bathroom, which is modern and spacious but does not have a door separating it from the bedroom and living room. As a result, running water in the sink, the shower, or a flushing toilet definitely wakes up someone who is sleeping in the next room. I tend to be an early riser while my husband likes to sleep in on vacation, so this was a design drawback for us.

Food: As others have noted, no one comes to Costa Rica for the food. That said, we did anticipate better food at a Westin. The food on the resort ranges from decent (Cauri, Caricola, Italian restaurant) to abysmal (Medaterra). The food is plentiful and there is a lot of variety, but we had a couple of dishes that were almost inedible. A rib eye special from Medaterra had the texture of shoe leather- I counted twelve sawing strokes with the steak knife before I gave up. We don't like to waste food and were embarrassed that we left practically our entire meal untouched. That said, you should have better luck if you stick to seafood, rice and beans, and fresh fruit and vegetables. The pizza restaurant near the pool is also good. Also, the service is very friendly and waitstaff and bartenders go out of their way to be helpful and hospitable. If we return to the resort we will not opt for the all-inclusive option.

Pool and beach: Both are wonderful. The resort was full but we never had a problem getting lounge chairs by the pool. There are far fewer chairs on the beach, so get there on the early side. The landscaping is lush and there are lots of interesting creatures around, from howler monkeys and iguanas to coatis, which look like a cross between a raccoon and a cat. The beach is narrow and long, with lots of palms and other trees providing shade. We enjoyed that it is a public beach- it was fun to be with all of the Ticos on vacation and not feel isolated with other tourists.

Activities: Like many others, we also booked tours through Erik Garcia. He is just outside the gate when you walk out onto the beach- you can't miss him. He is efficient and enterprising, with a number of local guys to help him out and lead the tours. We booked a half day ATV and zipline tour with Omer and had a blast. It takes about an hour to get to the Congo Zip Line and you pass through beautiful beaches, small towns, and back roads. It can get quite dusty, so be sure to use the dust masks they give you. Also, if you wear contacts, I would suggest bringing a small bottle of saline so that you can rinse them out when you get to the canopy. The zip lining was also wonderful- the guides were efficient and friendly and took safety very seriously. The platforms are high in the canopy with amazing views, and one platform was right next to a tree filled with howler monkeys. It was great to see them playing and interacting up close. We had about an hour and a half there, with twelve zip lines. It wasn't crowded at all and felt very peaceful. On a different day we also booked a two hour wave runner tour, which we also highly recommend. Walter was our guide. We saw much of the coastline and lots of beautiful deserted beaches.

My husband also played two rounds of golf and loved it. He said it was a challenging, beautiful course and really enjoyed the privacy- on the first round he didn't encounter another golfer til the ninth hole. The practice facility was also nice and open until dark each day.

I hadn't planned to scuba dive since there were so many other activities, but I decided to go one morning after meeting Mauricio, the dive master from Buzos de Aventura who is at the pool every afternoon giving introductory lessons. There is a two person minimum for the boat to go out and since no one else was signed up to dive the following day, it appeared that I was out of luck. However, I decided to pay the cost for two ($200 including gear) and Mauricio offered to throw in an extra tank. I had the dive boat and two dive masters to myself, and as a result the morning's dives were customized to my skill and experience level. We dove two sites off the Catalina Islands and one nearby called Sombrero. The dives were very challenging as visibility was terrible and the current was very strong due to the high winds that stuck around for several days, but the marine life more than made up for it. The highlight by far was the manta ray who came and checked us out, swimming around us within a couple of feet for several minutes. It was an incredible experience. It was great to see that Mauricio shared my excitement even though he's a veteran dive master with over 6,000 dives. They are majestic creatures and if you dive the Catalinas you have a pretty good chance of seeing them. For those who are interested in diving in Guanacaste, you can't go wrong with Buzos de Aventura and Mauricio and Elena. The equipment is new and the whole experience was more personalized and fun than many of the dives I've done in the Caribbean.

Overall, we had a wonderful vacation and enjoyed both the relaxing and adventurous things that the country has to offer. Costa Rica is a special place and we found everyone to be warm and welcoming. We would definitely go back, but may opt for a self-catering rental or non-AI next time. Safe and enjoyable travels!

  • Stayed: December 2012
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2  Thank DCtravlr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Stayed over Thanksgiving. The hotel was beautiful and the gigantic pool is designed so well that it has the feel of a smaller more private setting in many locations. The food was good at the buffet and all the restaurants.

We followed others advice from here and booked tours through Eric Garcia's group located on the beach, can't miss them. We worked with his associate John Rodreguez and he became our go to guy for anything we needed. Taxi to Tamarindo, taxi to the airport, zipline tour with transportation & monkey experience, horseback ridiing, ATVs or anything else the area has to offer. They are organized and charge far less than the tour company affiliated with the hotel.

One last piece of advise, don't feed the Coatie. Oops, they have a lot of friends that also like potato chips.

Room Tip: Rooms are pretty spread out, plan on some walking. I don't think any have ocean views. We were on the golf course.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank JJTEMPLE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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